Ahmad Saleem, who is  Regional Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Orlando FL was arrested on May 28 in a sting operation that netted scores of alleged paedophiles. Saleem, 22, is now facing felony charges for traveling to seduce or solicit a child to commit a sex act.  A Polk County sheriff's detective posed as a girl online. Saleem said he wanted sex with the girl and then traveled to a location in Lake County for the tryst. 
 
He had been described on the website of Saleem Academy, a local Muslim school, as a “passionate community organizer and educator” and an admirer of Malcolm X and Sheikh Hamza Yusuf (a.k.a. Mark Hanson), who has been described as the most influential Muslim scholar in the United States. Pakistani in origin, the accused Saleem was also described on the Saleem Academy website as having experienced “inner struggles” while attending high school and an “identity crisis that was partially sparked by the Islamophobic climate in America post-911.” He went on to become president of the Muslim Students Association at the University of Central Florida and then founder of the Saleem Academy – an institution devoted to spreading Islam globally. Saleem’s description on the academy’s website was scrubbed after his arrest.
 
 
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Saleem was arrested at a home in the Clermont area of Lake County FL where he allegedly sought to meet a 12-year-old girl for sex. Authorities said that he had been chatting online with someone he thought was a minor. He arrived at the appointment in a vehicle that bore a “Invest in Children” license plate. Detectives immediately arrested Saleem when he opened the door and brought him to ground. He was one of 101 persons arrested in an undercover operation focused on prostitution and child rape in the counties of Lake and Polk.
 
The cybercrime sting started on May 18. The sting yielded 79 people on prostitution charges and 22 for the child-sex sting. Lake County Sheriff Gary Borders said at news conference, "Central Florida is now a safer place today because of the efforts of our deputies.”
 
The cybercrime operation used online chat rooms and forums to identify persons seeking child sex. The first phase of the sting went for people seeking sex with minors aged 10-14. 
 
Some of the other culprits include local businessmen, employees of Sea World and Disney World, and a registered nurse. Some of the accused arrived at their appointments bearing not only lubricants and condoms, but also whips and vibrators. 
 

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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